Rejuvenating the Landmark Russian Tea Room

Rejuvenating the Landmark Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room is arguably one of Manhattan's most famous restaurants and continues to attract thousands of visitors each year who enjoy a unique combination of food and ambiance. Opened in 1926 by members of the Russian Imperial Ballet, it served as a meeting place for Russian émigrés who retreated to the U.S. following the Revolution. The New York City landmark underwent a multi-million dollar renovation, with Felber Ornamental Plastering of Norristown, PA employing their expertise to produce highly detailed interior & exterior decorative elements.

Bringing the Russian Tea Room back to life was not simply a restoration, but the creation of an entirely new themed environment and all the design challenges that went with it. The Russian Tea Room Bear adorns the entrance. Felber Ornamental Plastering artisans sculpted the intricate original in modeling clay. Smooth-On silicone rubber was used to make the flexible rubber mold. A face coat of duoMatrix® NEOpolymer modified gypsum system was then brushed into the surface of the mold, followed by a mix of duoMatrix NEO and chopped fiber which yielded a casting that was lightweight, weather-resistant and very strong. The finished casting was then gilded in 23K gold leaf.

The exquisitely detailed peacock motif originally sculpted in modeling clay by Felber Ornamental Plastering artisans was reproduced using Smooth-On silicone rubber to make the flexible rubber mold. The duoMatrix NEO polymer modified gypsum system was again used to produce the finished castings that are lightweight and strong. Elements were then gilded in 24K gold leaf.

The Result: The New York Times states that "Warner LeRoy, who purchased the Russian Tea Room in 1995, has designed an unprecedented showplace and assembled a team of world-renowned artisans to refurbish, revitalize and reinvent this icon." Today's Russian Tea Room occupies seven stories including a two-story ballroom and is located on West 57th Street in Manhattan.